All the ‘fun time‘ news sources are reporting on Collins Dictionary’s addition of the word ‘meh’ to its upcoming 30th anniversary edition, but there is a darker secret lurking beneath the surface here.
Sure this is great news. The word ‘meh’ originated in a 2001 Simpsons episode and has slowly gained momentum as the perfect expression of apathy and disinterest ever since. So what’s so bad about meh being in the dictionary you ask?
Well you’ve gotta take a look down the rabbit hole here. First, Collins is a second-rate dictionary. There’s no denying that. Whenever someone is talking about dictionaries and reference sources do you ever hear ‘Collins’ being cited as the go-to source? No way. Websters has a stranglehold on the dictionary market.
Secondly, Collins is owned by HarperCollins Publishing company. Fair enough, that makes sense. They’re a very large and reputable publisher. I remember them with disdain as being the publisher of all my least favorite textbooks in elementary school. What kind of sick individual would put a photo of the coolest most awesome snowboarder on the cover of a Math textbook?
But after doing a little more research I found HarperCollins is owned ultimately by News Corporation. News Corporation, the Rupert Murdoch company that owns Dow Jones, the Wall Street Journal, Sky News and …. Fox. What channel has exclusive rights to the Simpsons franchise? Fox.
So therefore it seems like the very hip inclusion of a great Simpsons catchphrase into the Collins lexicon is nothing more than a vertical integration marketing technique. Well done, News Corp, you earn another gold star. But does anyone really care?